One of the highlights of the SIHH 2016 watch trade show that took place in Geneva last week, was the Signature 1 – watchmaker Greubel Forsey’s first-time-only watch.
To design this so-called “entry-level” timepiece – with the usual immaculate execution of a Greubel Forsey – it took Didier J.G. Cretin, a long-time watchmaker at the company, and his team, 6 years to develop. Notably, the balance wheel and gold dial were all developed in-house.
In regards to finishing, the hands, which are gold or steel, depending on the case – were countersunk and finished by hand. The oversized balance wheel (which measures 12.6 mm) features an expertly applied black polish, as does the bridge which supports it. Geneva stripes surround the diamond beveled gold dial. The nickel silver bridges are frosted, as is the main plate. However, instead of a grey color, like the bridges, the mainplate is distinguished by a darkened frosted finish. Every countersink is polished to perfection. Each component’s edge is chamfered and polished.
Running at a traditional rate of 2.5Hz, the open-worked dial leaves nothing to the imagination, as the balance wheel oscillates to and fro 18,000 times per hour.
The case measures 41.4 mm x 11.7 mm and will be available in four different metals. Starting at approximately $150,000 in stainless steel, there will be a total of 66 Greubel Forsey Signature 1s available for sale beginning June 2016. The breakdown is 11 platinum, 11 white gold, 11 rose gold, and 33 stainless steel (11 with blue dials).
Greubel Forsey will never make watches designed for the mass market, nor will they sacrifice their signature top-level finishing. Having said that, this is the most affordable Greubel Forsey timepiece available. Moreover, half of the production will be offered in stainless steel cases. So, even if the target is still ultra-wealthy collectors, it does, at least, expand the potential entry-level to a wider audience. All presented in a conservatively sized case, to boot.
Photos by Josh Shanks and Greubel Forsey (cover).